Ep 60: Courage to Lead – Sandy Ouellette Reflects on Year as AANA President

Our latest installment of the ‘Courage to Lead’ series features Sandy Ouellette, CRNA, who was president of the AANA in 1989. We go back in time to reflect on her long list of accomplishments from that year and beyond. Sandy played a key role in Medicare reimbursement, the IFNA’s creation, and AANA insurance and she looks back on each of these and more.  

Click the timestamps below to help you navigate through the many topics we discussed.

On This Episode:

As much as we look ahead to the bright future for CRNAs, it’s important to continue to revisit the past and share the history that brought us to where we are now.

One part of that story is Sandy Ouellette, CRNA, who we have had the pleasure of knowing for many years. She’s been a wonderful guest on this show before but we wanted to turn the spotlight on her and her accomplishments, and that’s exactly what we do on this episode of the Beyond the Mask podcast by making her the focus of our next ‘Courage to Lead’ installment.

Sandy served as the AANA president in 1989 but has given back in many ways through the years. Today we want to take a look at her accomplishments from her year as president and look at her involvement in some major developments like AANA insurance, the formation of the IFNA, and Medicare reimbursement.

Along with her achievements, we also talk about the lessons she’s learned about leadership and what messages she’d share with the new generation of CNRAs. She has a lot of wisdom to share – you might know them as ‘Sandyisms’ – and it comes across in this episode.

Sandy has always been passionate about documenting the history of the industry and we hope this becomes a small part of that.  

Check it out at the top of the page and use the timestamps to help you navigate through the many topics we discussed.

2:18 – One of our favorites is in studio with us today, Sandy Ouellette.

2:47 – Sandy takes us back through her year as AANA president.

3:42 – A list of achievements in 1989.

6:52 – ‘Sandyisms’

7:45 – What was the role of the board of directors and Medicare reimbursement that year?

9:51 – It takes a village to make these changes.  

10:28 – TEFRA and how ratios were agreed upon.

12:18 – Some history on the formation of IFNA

16:03 – AANA insurance celebrated 30 years in 2019. Why was it formed and what was the purpose of that?  

18:53 – The insurance has also created some additional benefits.  

19:21 – Sandy describes the replica dividend check she received which shows how much has been given back to the AANA.

21:17 The College Bowl has become a special event.

23:16 – Sandy shares the trade publications that have made a big impact on the industry and how history will be documented moving forward.

27:58 – What are the most valuable leadership lessons Sandy learned during her year in office?

30:05 – As this new generation of CRNAs takes over, what message would you like to get across to them?

32:05 – We need to use the power of social media for good.

34:10 – Sandy wouldn’t change her career path if given another opportunity.

36:00 – One final message from Sandy.


“You can’t fight all battles. You have got to put your ladder on the right wall. And you have got to pick those things that are the most critical issues for our members.”

-Sandy Ouellette, former AANA president







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J. Cross CRNA
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This podcast is very well put together. I love the hosts Sharon & Jeremy, they do a fantastic job at presenting topics as well as getting great speakers on the show! This is my morning commute podcast everyday! Thank you for all that you do!
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I started listening to this podcast religiously early on in my CRNA journey, a year before applying to CRNA school. The content in this podcast was one of my most helpful resources for getting into my first choice school, Wake Forest! It has also been a huge motivator for getting involved with the AANA now and throughout my career. I highly recommend this podcast to every prospective CRNA I meet.
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If you’re a CRNA or any medical professional, I highly recommend giving this podcast a listen. Hosts have a great rapport.